Talent Mismatch: Wrong People; Right Job; Right Place; Right Time…

Manpower Inc. (NYSE: MAN) ** surveyed over 35,000 employers across 36 countries and territories (including the U.S.A.) during the first quarter of 2010 to determine the impact of talent shortages on today’s labor markets…

The results of the fifth annual Talent Shortage Survey revealed that 31 percent of employers worldwide are having difficulty filling positions due to the lack of suitable talent available in their markets, which is an increase of one percentage point over last year’s survey. Second on the list of tough-to-fill jobs: sales representatives.

Although the current global economic situation has increased the number of overall job seekers in labor markets worldwide, there is still a notable talent shortage in many countries and industry sectors. So the immediate problem is not the number of potential candidates. Rather, it is a talent mismatch: There are not enough sufficiently skilled people in the right places at the right times.

Simultaneously, employers are seeking ever more specific skill sets and combinations of skills – not just technical capabilities alone, but perhaps in combination with critical thinking skills or other qualities that will help drive the company forward. As a result, the “right” person for a particular job is becoming much harder to find. And the problem shows no signs of easing.

The top 10 jobs that employers are having difficulty filling across the 36 countries and territories surveyed are (ranked in order):

  1. Skilled Trades*
  2. Sales Representatives
  3. Technicians (primarily production/operations, engineering, or maintenance)
  4. Engineers
  5. Accounting & Finance staff
  6. Production operators
  7. Secretaries, PAs, Administrative Assistance, Office Support Staff.
  8. Management/Executives
  9. Drivers
  10. Labors

The top 10 skills categories that appeared in the 2009 worldwide survey results also appear on this year’s list. However, some of the individual rankings have changed. As the results show, lack of available talent is not confined to highly skilled knowledge work. Once again, Skilled Trades tops the global list of difficult jobs to fill.

Rounding out the top four are Sales Representatives, Technicians and Engineers. Accounting & Finance Staff climbs one spot to the fifth position, while Production Operators (sixth) and the Secretaries, PAs, Administrative Assistants & Office Support Staff category (seventh) each climb two positions. The Laborers category drops three positions to tenth.

Note that employers often identified other in-demand skills in the survey. If a particular job role does not appear on the list, it should not be assumed that the skill is not also in demand. It simply means that the surveyed employers have identified more pressing needs in other skills categories.

 (Total number of respondents: 35,650; Employers indicating difficulty filling positions: 31% Employers indicating no difficulty filling positions: 69%; Margin of error: +/- 0.5%)

*In this survey, Skilled Trades refers to a broad range of job titles that require workers to possess specialized skills, traditionally learned over a period of time as an apprentice. Examples of skilled trade jobs are: electricians, bricklayers, carpenters, cabinetmakers, masons, plumbers, welders, etc. Where possible, these jobs are listed in order of highest demand for each country.

**Manpower, Inc. describes the employment trends in more detail in a 20-page report “2010 Talent Shortage Survey” dated May 2010. Visit “Research Center” at ManPower for the full Report.

Talent Management

Talent management: Finding, developing and keeping talent is a top concern for business executives. This encompasses the acquisition, assessment, development and retention of effective and productive workforce, and especially salespeople. Companies are not only having trouble finding more strategic and qualified (i.e., specific experience and expertise) salespeople, but they’re also having trouble keeping them.

Talent management is a process that emerged in the 1990s and continues to be adopted, as more companies come to realize that their employees’ talents and skills drive their business success. Companies that have put into practice talent management have done so to solve an employee retention problem. But companies are beginning to realize that the issues involved in employee retention can be very complicated and may even  include the shifting culture of the workplace.

The issue with many companies today is that their organizations put tremendous effort into attracting employees to their company, but spend little time into retaining and developing talent. A talent management system must be worked into the business strategy and implemented in daily processes throughout the company as a whole.  It cannot be left solely to the human resources department to attract and retain employees, but rather must be practiced at all levels of the organization.

This is particularly true with salespeople where the employers no longer want the nearest warm bodies to represent their companies. They’re becoming more strategic about hiring salespeople. They want people who know the company, know the industry and know the people they’re selling to, people who have proven track records. As a result companies more frequently are using “assessment tools” that helps to pinpoint what differentiates salespeople; who are very good at what they do from those that are challenged by the same position.

The process of attracting and retaining profitable employees is of strategic importance, as competition increases between firms. In 1997, a McKinsey study coined term: “war for talent”. The knowledge age has moved the basis of economic value into information assets, and now the competitive battlefront is for the best people because they are the true creators of value…